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At What Age is It Better to Learn to Play Chess?

Written by Yury Markushin Sunday, 04 October 2009 17:39

At what age is it better to learn to play chess? Maybe at 5 years old maybe at 10. Basically the earlier kid starts to play chess the better, since young mind is more flexible and learns things faster. However, I believe that it’s mostly matters not when you start playing chess, but how much time and effort you dedicated to that game. If you start playing at 6 you may become a grandmaster by 16 with right training and talent. If you started at 30 maybe you’ll be able to become a grandmaster by 40. Adults however have a lot less time to play chess since they have work, family, children and lots of problems they have to think about besides chess. That is also why players generally do not obtain the highest chess title if they start playing late.

Here is the list of when famous players have learned to play chess: Alekhine learned at the age of 7 from his older brother. His mother also played chess and he learned chess from his relatives. Anand learned the game of chess at age 6, taught by his mother. Adolf Anderssen learned at the age of 9 from his father. Blackburne was 19 years old before he learned chess. He learned the game from a chess book he had purchased. Humphrey Bogart learned chess at 13 and was later a chess hustler. Boleslavsky learned at age 9 at the House of Pioneers in the USSR. Botvinnik learned at the age of 12, probably from his family. de la Bourdonnais learned at 19 while in college. Walter Browne learned the game at age 8 somewhere in Brooklyn. Capablanca claimed he learned chess at the age of 4 by watching his father play chess against friends. Ray Charles learned at age 35 in a hospital to fight drug addiction. Irving Chernev learned at the age of 12 from his father. Mikhail Chigorin learned at the age of 16 from a school teacher in Russia. Arnold Denker learned at the age of 12 from his oldest brother. Jan Donner learned at the age of 14, taught by his friends.

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Max Euwe learned at the age of 9 from his parents. Larry Evans learned at age 12 from his brothers and his father. Reuben Fine learned chess at the age of 8 from his cousin. Bobby Fischer learned at the age of 8 from his older sister. Nona Gaprindashvili learned at the age of 5 from her 5 older brothers. Gligoric learned about age 12 from a boarder in his parents home. Heubner learned at the age of 5 from his father. Igor Ivanov learned at age 5 from his mother. John Jarecki learned at the age of 6 from his father (a medical doctor). Mona Karff learned at age 9 from her father. Karpov learned chess at the age of 4 at the Pioneers Palace. Kasparov learned at age 5 from his father, who later died in a car crash. Paul Keres learned at the age of 4, probably from his parents. George Koltanoski learned chess at the age of 14 from his father, a diamond cutter. Bent Larsen learned at age 6, probably from his family. Edward Lasker learned at age 6 from his father. Emanuel Lasker learned at age 11 from his older brother. Bill Lombardy learned at age 9 from a neighbor. Frank Marshall learned chess at age 10 from his father. Mecking learned at age 6, probably from his family. Vera Menchik learned at age 9 from her father. Paul Morphy learned at age 8 from his father. Nakamura learned how to play chess at the age of 7. Nimzovich learned chess at the age of 8. Victor Palciuskas learned at age 5 from his uncle. Louis Paulsen learned at age 5 from his father. Petrosian learned chess from his parent at age 8. His parents died a few years later during World War II. Philidor learned at age 10 from his musician friends. Pillsbury learned at age 15. Susan Polgar learned chess at the age of 4 from her parents. Stuart Rachels learned at age 8 from an older brother. Reshevesky was playing chess at 4 and giving simuls at age 5. Rossolimo learned chess at age 7 from his mother. Diane Savereide learned chess at age 17 from her brother. A few years later she was the top woman chess player in the U.S. Gabriel Schwartzman says he learned chess at the age of 2. Seirawan learned chess in Seattle at the age of 12. Smyslov learned chess at the age of 6 from his father and from the chess books in his father's library. Soltis learned chess at age 9. Spassky learned chess at the age of 5. Steinitz learned chess at the age of 12 from friends.

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Sultan Khan learned modern chess at age 21. Prior to that, he learned Indian chess at a much younger age. Mikhail Tal learned at the age of 8 by watching patients play chess at the hospital his father worked at. Tarrasch learned chess at the age of 15 from a chess book. George Thomas learned chess at the age of 13 from his mother, a top British Ladies' Champion. Topalov learned at age 9. Norman Whitaker learned at age 14 from his father. Michael Wilder learned at the age of 6 from his father.

List of youngest Grandmasters ever:

Year

Player

Country Soviet Union 26 years Soviet Union 23 years Soviet Union 18 years

Age

1950David Bronstein 1952Tigran Petrosian 1955Boris Spassky 1958Bobby Fischer 1991Judit Polgár 1994Péter Lékó 1997Etienne Bacrot 1997Ruslan Ponomariov 1999Bu Xiangzhi 2002Sergey Karjakin

United States15 years, 6 months, 1 day Hungary Hungary France Ukraine China Ukraine 15 years, 4 months, 28 days 14 years, 4 months, 22 days 14 years, 2 months, 0 days 14 years, 0 months, 17 days 13 years, 10 months, 13 days 12 years, 7 months, 0 days